Jay DeMerit: Announces Retirement in Classy Open Letter


May 10, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Vancouver Whitecaps defender Jay DeMerit (6) sends the ball upfield against the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium. Vancouver won the game 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, Vancouver Whitecaps captain Jay DeMerit announced his retirement on the team’s website with an open letter. At 1:30 p.m. PST Thursday, the Whitecaps will hold a press conference with DeMerit about his retirement. DeMerit tore a tendon in his left ankle against the Philadelphia Union back on June 7th. Since then, he decided against another surgery with a lengthy recovery and could not recover in the short-term. The Whitecaps signed DeMerit as their first MLS player in 2010 ahead of joining MLS in 2011. Before his time in MLS, DeMerit found time in varied leagues including the English Championship and the English Premier League. Demerit was critical to the team becoming a competitive expansion team in MLS and the Cascadia rivalry. An expert of DeMerit’s letter is below. The full letter can be found here.

"I’ve had the privilege of wearing the Red, White, and Blue of the U.S. Men’s National Team for five years, in 26 games. I got to be part of the group that snapped Spain’s win streak in 2009, before playing in the USMNT’s first-ever world tournament final against Brazil in the Confederations Cup. At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, I got to stand on the halfway line with my hand on my heart, singing my national anthem as one of 11 starters chosen to represent my country against England, Slovenia, Algeria and Ghana."

"I got to travel around the world, grace a few magazines and billboards, and got to see the soccer community come together and raise money to make a movie about my life. I got to talk about my beloved Green Bay Packers with Elton John while in my underwear and drink beers with Bill Clinton. I got to meet other amazing athletes and even got to marry the most beautiful Olympic gold medallist on the planet."

"After the World Cup in 2010 I was a free agent, and Whitecaps FC were the team that fought hardest for me and the team that wanted me to play the role that I hoped my experience in this game could handle."

"The first few seasons since I have been in Vancouver have not always been easy, but being the first signing of an expansion franchise, I’ve always known what I signed up for. I knew this city was something special the moment I laid eyes on it and I am proud to now call this my home. The foundation we have now built together with the club, its staff, and most importantly with its supporters is something that still excites me for the future. I look forward to continuing what we have started, but now just with a different role."

"Six weeks ago, I ruptured a second tendon in my ankle in a 15-month timespan – and things aren’t looking good. Last year, I battled back from an achilles rupture in fewer than six months, proving doubters and naysayers wrong once again, like I have time and time again from the moment I stepped on that plane 11 years ago. But this new injury is proving to be too much to come back from."

"Even if I was to get back to a level where I could potentially play again, I would be putting at risk the reputation that I have spent so many years trying to create, and I won’t do that.  I’ve never taken the field just because I can. I’m either all in or all out. I take the field because I’m ready and able to give my all, to fight for my teammates, and give a committed performance for my club or my country."

"I’ve always been the kind of player who wears his heart on his sleeve – and it’s that heart that is telling me it’s time to stop. If I can’t be the player that I have always been, and play to a standard that I believe is high enough, then it’s time for me to smile, say thank you, and give my commitment to a new cause."

"I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who has helped my dreams become a reality over the past 11 years."

"I want to thank my family for all of their support. I thank my friends for making me laugh and always keeping me humble. And I thank my wife, Ashleigh, for being by my side and for helping make this decision easier for me."

"A huge thanks goes out to my extended soccer family. Watford FC gave me my first big chance and some very happy times, embracing an unknown American and making him feel at home. Whitecaps FC gave me a new opportunity and a challenge to help soccer grow in our city. I’m grateful to all the coaches and teammates along the journey who have helped me to be a better player, and a better teammate."

"Most importantly, I want say a thank you to the fans of Watford, Whitecaps FC and the USMNT for always showing me the passion and commitment that I’ve always tried to show them."

Thank you Mr. DeMerit for what you have brought to the sport as a whole and the proud moments you were a part of with the USMNT and your respective club teams. Classy move by Mr. DeMerit to remember his road through his playing career and thanking the fans of his respective clubs and teams.

All the best as you enter your future endeavors with the Whitecaps in your new role and anywhere else opportunities take you. It would not be surprising to see DeMerit end up on various telecasts of MLS and other soccer games on a variety of channels moving forward. DeMerit will be remembered as a legend by the fans and also the fellow players in MLS.